The Black Hornet is fitted with a steerable electro-optic camera that provides the user with live videos and still images that can be displayed on a linked hand-held computer while performing surveillance and navigation tasks.
Fremont, CA: The increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a wide range of industries has encouraged both public and private research laboratories to not only continuously develop this technology but also to promote the miniaturization of these systems. The ability of researchers to miniaturize the major components of these devices, such as microprocessors, sensors, batteries, and all necessary wireless communication units that enable UAVs to operate properly in any given environment, is directly related to the development of both micro-and nano-UAVs.
Researchers have been able to significantly reduce the costs of drones while still having major socioeconomic impacts as a result of their use by miniaturizing them. Furthermore, miniaturized drones can complete missions in confined spaces, especially those close to the ground or with no position signals in the given area1. As small drone research advances, researchers hope that an improvement in the autonomy of micro-and nano-UAVs would enable previously slow, risky, and unscalable projects to be completed successfully.
The PD-100 Black Hornet is a well-known example of a commercialized nano drone that has been effectively used for military purposes since 2013. The Black Hornet, manufactured by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics, enables troops to spy on possible threats to military personnel by providing information, surveillance, and reconnaissance support during crucial mission operations.
The 100 millimeter (mm) Black Hornet, encased in a tough, plastic molded shell, weighs around 16 grams and has a rotor span of 120 mm2. When fitted with a surveillance camera, the total weight of this device is less than 1 kg, making it small enough to fit in a soldier's pocket. In addition to its ultra-compact dimensions, the Black Hornet produces zero noise, allowing this aircraft to easily enter congested and threat-prone areas without drawing unwanted attention from enemies.
The Black Hornet is fitted with a steerable electro-optic camera that provides the user with live videos and still images that can be displayed on a linked hand-held computer while performing surveillance and navigation tasks. Operators may use this technology to either directly monitor the drone's operation or pre-program the route using its internal GPS system.
Recent advancements in technology supporting Black Hornets for military applications have resulted in the creation of the Black Hornet 3, which has enhanced features such as a total weight of 32 g, the ability to fly in areas outside of GPS coverage, a micro thermal camera, and an average speed of 21 km/hour3. As militaries become more involved in advancing the new battle area, the US Army has signed a $2.6 million USD deal with Flir, thermal imaging and technology firm, to greatly boost the ability to protect soldiers during combat.
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